5 Tips to Know Before Visiting Iceland
1. Food is Expensive
Food prices are subjective to where you live, but let me tell you, food is expensive in Iceland. We spent around $40 USD for a basic lunch of burgers, fries, nugget, & some milk and $70 for dinner, without alcohol. There are only a small handful of fast food chains located in Iceland, but they can give you a good idea about pricing.
Above is a picture from tacobell.is, the Icelandic sight for Taco Bell. A Crunchwrap Supreme meal costs here in America, as of today $5.49USD. The same meal in Iceland costs 1479Kr, or by today’s exchange rate is around $13 USD. That is equivalent to a nice dish in a mid range restaurant for what you are getting in Iceland for a couple of Tacos, so plan your food budget accordingly while visiting Iceland.
2. Don’t Expect to See the Northern Lights.
The northern lights only appear during the winter month and even then they are not guaranteed. Every day we were there in December it was overcast and rained every night. The closet we got to seeing the northern lights was the light show they showed on the airplane.
3. You need to Pre-Plan to Visit the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a popular tourist attraction, and there are caps on how many people can come a day. If you want to visit this attraction I recommend pre-booking as soon as you know you are visiting Iceland. A great time to do it if you have a afternoon flight is to go in the morning before your flight as the lagoon is close to the airport.
4. English is Widely Spoken
Although I am a big believer in learning a bit of the language wherever you go, lets face it that Icelandic is astoundingly difficult to speak. Although Icelanders will not be offended by your butchering their language, but they may not understand anything of what you are trying to say. English is mandatory in school for them and everyone we ran into spoke English quite well if not perfectly.
5. Shop Around for Your Lopapeysa
This iconic Icelandic sweater is on the to-buy list for many travelers visiting Iceland, but they are not cheap. And now with the increase in tourism you need to keep an eye out for Chinese manufactured ones popping up in some tourist stores.
For the best variety of size and selection and known for quality visit The Handknitting Association in Reykjavik. But I would use this store as your last stop in your search, for if you turn up empty handed you have them as a fallback.
I would recommend hunting for you Lopapeysa at resale stores, also called charity shops, of all places. Although still not inexpensive by any means, I picked up my amazing purple Lopapeysa at the Red Cross Second Hand Store in Laugavegur. Guaranteed hand made, in great condition, and only about $100 dollars. If you do not find anything there, The Handknitting Association is only a few blocks away.